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Super Bowl XIX Highlights

The 49ers demolished the Dolphins 38-16 in Super Bowl XIX and reinforced a lesson to football fans: Defenses still hold the key to championship games. "As good as Joe Montana was," The Sporting News wrote, "it was the 49er defense that performed the miracle of Super Bowl XIX, thereby taking the luster off Dan Marino's rising star."

In just his second year in the NFL, Marino torched the league for a season-record 48 touchdowns and 5,084 yards passing. But, as the Nov. 18, 1995, San Jose Mercury News pointed out, George Seifert devised the defense that did what nobody else could -- shut down Marino and suffocate the Dolphins:

The Dolphins jumped to a 10-7 lead, with Marino completing nine of his first 10 passes for 103 yards -- all in the first quarter. It was then that Seifert went to work, pulling a linebacker and going to five defensive backs in a plan that ultimately ruined the biggest game of Marino's career. The Dolphins didn't score in the second half, and Marino unraveled, completing 29 of 50 for 318 yards, with one touchdown, two interceptions and four sacks, including three in the third quarter.

Quarterback Joe Montana ... would be named the game's MVP, but the unsung Seifert had as much to do with the outcome as anyone.

That notion is supported by The Sporting News' account:

Seifert put in some new line stunts for the game ... designed to put pressure on center Dwight Stephenson, Miami's best lineman. "We had to tie him up on every play so we could go right up the middle on Marino," 49ers defensive end Gary Johnson said. [Marino had been sacked only 13 times in the regular season and not once in the playoffs. But the 49ers dropped Marino a career-high four times.]

The four-man line ... also shut off the Dolphins' feeble running game, which had its lowest output of the year (25 yards). Marino was forced to throw 50 passes, completing 29 -- both Super Bowl records -- but his 318 yards in the air ... was his second-lowest total of his last six games, and much of that yardage came in the fourth quarter when the 49ers eased into their "prevent" mode. Only one other time in the season had he been limited to just one TD pass. ...

Marino was having problems dissecting San Francisco's ever-changing blend of defensive coverages. "We are mainly a zone team, but we played more man than we usually do," safety Carlton Williamson said.

"We 'collisioned' [the Miami receivers] off the line," safety Dwight Hicks said. "That gave the line lots of time to rush." Marino particularly had trouble when the 49ers played man-to-man with four defensive backs and then kept two safeties in a deep zone.

George Seifert,
defensive
coordinator

Super Bowl XIX
January 20, 1985
Stanford Stadium
Attendance: 84,059
MVP: Joe Montana


Game coverage:

The Sporting News:
"49ers Harpoon Dolphins"

1984 San Francisco 49ers Roster

No. Name                   Pos.   Ht.  Wt.   Birthdate  Exp  College

68   Ayers, John             G   6-5   265  4/14/53     8  West Texas St.
76   Board, Dwaine          DE   6-5   248  11/29/56    5  N. Carolina A&T
57   Bunz,Dan               LB   6-4   225  10/7/55     6  Long Beach St.
95   Carter, Michael        NT   6-2   281  10/29/60    R  SMU
 6   Cavanaugh, Matt        QB   6-2   212  10/27/56    7  Pittsburgh
87   Clark, Dwight          WR   6-4   215   1/8/57     6  Clemson
29   Clark, Mario           CB   6-2   195   3/29/54    9  Oregon
89   Cooper, Earl           TE   6-2   227   9/17/57    5  Rice
33   Craig, Roger           RB   6-0   222   7/10/60    2  Nebraska
51   Cross, Randy            G   6-3   265   4/25/54    9  UCLA
74   Dean, Fred             DE   6-2   232   2/24/52   10  Louisiana Tech
50   Ellison, Riki          LB   6-2   220   8/15/60    2  USC
71   Fahnhorst, Keith        T   6-6   273   2/6/52    11  Minnesota
81   Francis, Russ          TE   6-6   242   4/3/53     9  Oregon
86   Frank, John            TE   6-3   225   4/17/62    R  Ohio State
49   Fuller, Jeff            S   6-2   216   8/8/62     R  Texas A&M
24   Harmon, Derrick        RB   5-10  202   4/26/63    R  Cornell
22   Hicks, Dwight        S-CB   6-1   192   4/5/56     6  Michigan
28   Holmoe, Tom             S   6-2   180   3/7/60     2  BYU
97   Johnson, Gary          DE   6-2   261   8/31/53   10  Grambling
94   Kelcher, Louie         NT   6-5   310   8/23/53   10  SMU
66   Kennedy, Allan          T   6-7   275   1/8/58     3  Washington St.
42   Lott, Ronnie         CB-S   6-0   199   5/8/59     4  USC
53   McColl, Milt           LB   6-6   230   8/28/59    4  Stanford
62   McIntyre, Guy           G   6-3   271   2/17/61    R  Georgia
43   McLemore, Dana      CB-KR   5-10  183   7/l/60     3  Hawaii
32   Monroe, Carl        RB-KR   5-8   166   2/20/60    2  Utah
16   Montana, Joe           QB   6-2   195   6/11/56    6  Notre Dame
52   Montgomery, Blanchard  LB   6-2   236   2/17/61    2  UCLA
83   Nehemiah, Renaldo      WR   6-1   183   3/24/59    3  Maryland
77   Paris, Bubba            T   6-6   295   10/6/60    2  Michigan
65   Pillers, Lawrence      DE   6-4   250   11/4/52    9  Alcorn State
56   Quillan, Fred           C   6-5   266   1/27/56    7  Oregon
64   Reynolds, Jack         LB   6-1   232   11/22/47  15  Tennessee
30   Ring, Bill             RB   5-10  205   12/13/56   4  BYU
 4   Runager, Max            P   6-1   189   3/24/56    6  South Carolina
90   Shell, Todd            LB   6-4   225   6/24/62    R  BYU
67   Shields, Billy          T   6-8   279   8/23/53   10  Georgia Tech
88   Solomon, Freddie       WR   5-11  188   1/11/53   10  Tampa
72   Stover, Jeff           DE   6-5   275   5/22/58    3  Oregon
79   Stuckey, Jim           DE   6-4   253   6/21/58    5  Clemson
78   Tuiasosopo, Manu       NT   6-3   252   8/30/57    6  UCLA
58   Turner, Keena          LB   6-2   219   10/22/58   5  Purdue
26   Tyler, Wendell         RB   5-10  200   5/20/55    7  UCLA
99   Walter, Mike           LB   6-3   238   11/30/60   2  Oregon
14   Wersching, Ray          K   5-11  210   8/21/50   12  California
27   Williamson, Carlton     S   6-0   204   6/12/58    4  Pittsburgh
85   Wilson, Mike           WR   6-3   210   12/19/58   4  Washington St.
21   Wright, Eric           CB   6-1   180   4/18/59    4  Missouri

 

 

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